ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - NOTE: This story has been updated. The newest version can be found HERE.
Mitch Seavey feeds his team Saturday in Koyukuk. (Tracy Sabo / KTUU)
1. Mitch Seavey: In to Shaktoolik at 9:04 p.m.
2. Dallas Seavey: Out of Unalakleet at 8:36 p.m.
3. Wade Marrs: Into Unalakleet at 4:05 p.m.
4. Nicolas Petit: Into Unalakleet at 4:08 p.m.
5. Joar Leifseth Ulsom: In to Unalakleet at 8:38 p.m.
6. Aliy Zirkle: Out of Kaltag at 9:13 a.m.
7. Jessie Royer: Out of Kaltag at 10:26 a.m.
8. Ray Redington, Jr.: Out of Kaltag at 11:25 a.m.
9. Jason Mackey: Out of Kaltag at 12:23 p.m.
10. Mats Pettersson: Out of Kaltag at 1:15 p.m.
4:40 P.M. UPDATE:
That didn't take long. Mitch Seavey, who has been setting the pace in the second half of the 2017 Iditarod, zoomed through the Unalakleet checkpoint at 4:28 p.m. and is back in the lead.
Seavey, 57, had rested two to three hours on the trail before arriving at the village checkpoint. He spent just five minutes there before returning to the trail and will race north for 40 miles to Shaktoolik.
Wade Marrs, 26, beat Seavey to the checkpoint by 18 minutes. While he no longer holds the late-race lead -- and it will be a tall order to gain ground on the surging Seavey -- he is $3,500 richer. The first musher into Unalakleet wins the Wells Fargo Gold Coast Award, complete with gold nuggets.
4:15 P.M. UPDATE:
Wade Marrs is the first musher to reach the Norton Sound coast, pulling into Unalakleet at about 4:05 p.m. Nicolas Petit arrived about three minutes later.
The Seaveys -- both of them -- are hot on their tail.
Mitch Seavey appeared to rest his dogs along the trail for two to three hours as he neared Unalakleet. As a result, he avoided running in the heat of the day and enjoys a recent 8-hour rest in Kaltag, which could bode well for banking rest for the trip up the Norton Sound coast.
Dallas Seavey said on Saturday that it his father nearly had the Iditarod 2017 field in “checkmate” because of his lead Saturday and his remaining speed. And yet, the younger Seavey said, “I've seen that team wane at the end. It costs something to go that hard and
“I don’t know if they will, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that they will,” he said.
“These guys are the battle proven warhorses here,” Dallas said, gesturing to his team. “I think there’s two dogs that haven’t won the Iditarod.”
At 57-years-old, Mitch has two Iditarod wins – 2004 and 2013 – to Dallas’s four. Only one musher, Rick Swenson, has won the race five times.
Mitch said on Saturday that he was impressed with the performance by 26-year-old Marrs, who has notched two top-10 finishes in the consecutive years and led the race from the halfway point of Huslia as Mitch took his 24-hour rest.
7 A.M. UPDATE:
The race is on. Iditarod frontrunner Mitch Seavey left Kaltag (Mile 633) just five minutes ahead of his son, defending champ Dallas, at 4:40 a.m. today.
From Kaltag, the racers are traveling 85 miles to Unalakleet, a welcoming, large village where the checkpoint hall is a former Post Office that always smells of frying bacon.
Officials say the death of 2-year-old Smoke (second dog to die in this year's Iditarod) was caused by hyperthermia. https://t.co/1spsXuZJwO— beth verge (@ktuubeth) March 12, 2017
Mitch completed his 8-hour layover in Kaltag and the playing field is now even in terms of mandatory rest. The mushers don't have to take a required layover again until traveling the Bering Sea coast and arriving in White Mountain.
Dallas spent just two hours and 42 minutes in Kaltag to close the gap on his father. On Saturday, Dallas said the elder Seavey might be unbeatable this year -- "he has lead and the speed."
"I've seen that team wane at the end. It costs something to go that hard and fast," Dallas said.